Can You Relocate with a Child After Divorce?
Divorce causes many changes to the family structure, but those changes don’t always stop after the divorce is finalized. Many issues continue to pop up along the way. One of the most common is when a custodial parent wants to relocate with their child. Perhaps they found better schooling for the child, or maybe they were offered a great job that’s out of state, or even out of the country. When this is the case, what does Florida law say about it? Are parents allowed to relocate with their children?
What is Considered a Relocation?
If you’re only moving across town with your child, you can likely do so without obtaining permission from the other parent or the courts. This is not considered a relocation. However, under Florida Statute 61.13001, when a parent moves 50 miles away or further, and intends to stay in the new location for more than 60 days, it is considered a relocation. Relocation is not an issue with temporary moves for the purpose of taking a vacation, education, or providing the child with medical care.
Relocation when the Other Parent Agrees
If you and your ex-spouse both agree to the relocation, you can draft a written agreement. This agreement must include:
- Written agreement to the relocation from both parents
- A time-sharing schedule that allows the parent not relocating access to the child
- How transportation of the child will work
After drafting and signing this agreement, you can then file it with the courts. You will not likely have to attend a formal hearing.
Relocation when the Other Parent Doesn’t Agree
Many times, the non-locating parent doesn’t agree to the relocation of their child. If this is the case, you must file a petition to relocate with the court. This is then served to your ex-spouse. Your petition must include:
- The address and phone number of your new home
- The date you wish to relocate
- The reason for the relocation and proof, such as a written employment contract
- Your proposed visitation schedule
- A written plan for transporting the child
After your ex-spouse receives the notice, they have 20 days to file a response. This should include reasons for objecting to the relocation, and how much time the non-relocating parent spends with the child. If they do not respond, the court may automatically grant the relocation. If your ex-spouse does reply to your petition, a judge will hear from both sides and weigh what is in the best interests of the child.
If a judge does not grant your relocation and you move anyway, you may face serious consequences, such as charges of contempt.
Need Help with Your Petition? Call Our Florida Family Law Attorneys
Filing a petition for relocation after divorce is complex. The burden of proof lies with you to show that you are moving, at least partially, for the child’s benefit and the move is not to your sole advantage. At All Family Law Group, our Tampa divorce attorneys can help you with this element of proof. We will also ensure you take all the necessary steps, so you can move forward with your new life while still complying with the law. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation.